The Springer Book Archives has opened, digitized, and released 37,000 book in January and will release more than 63,000 titles in 2013. The Springer Book Archives intends to digitize about 100,000 books dating from the 1840’s and they will be available on the SpringerLink platform. Books will be e-reader compatible PDFs and will be DRM-free.
While the actual digitization reached 5,000 books a month in 2012, rights issues were a problem. As stated in the press release:
Rights, permissions, and access to the actual print editions proved to be challenging. Though some of the early titles are in the public domain, most of the others weren’t. For rights and permissions, Chiarcos says that Springer editors worked directly with the authors or their legal heirs in working out the details. “When we explained what we were doing, most of the authors were OK with it,” she says. “And yes, a small percentage of authors had strong opinions, and we respect this and didn’t include them.” Tracking down other authors or heirs involved extensive digging and research. Chiarcos says Springer also used multiple channels to get the word out to authors so as many titles as possible will be included in SBA. Springer’s long publishing history with 50 different imprints and related mergers and acquisitions over the years also made it difficult to determine what titles actually belonged to Springer, says Chiarcos. Legacy imprints acquired by Springer include Vieweg, Teubner, Birkhaüser Boston and Plenum, and others. “Many of these books were published in an analog age when some records have since disappeared,” she says. So that meant the Springer team spent time doing additional research and tracking MARC data, along with text and data mining.